Posted on June 26th, 2017 - Fiona
For outdoor lovers everywhere
Here at Coombe Mill we love to spend time outdoors, whether enjoying a picnic on the farm, crafts in the sun or a day at the beach. We believe that time spent outdoors is some of the best, where technology is put aside for active play and learning. If there is one thing that does bug me as a mother of six and organiser of all our outdoor holiday craft it is carrying everything. This is where the Brug comes into its own offering a little help on a family or group outing and a total solution for a solo trip. Read on for your chance to win one of these handy items for yourself and your family.
What makes the Brug Special?
The Brug is water resistant, washable, hard wearing and practical. It is compact when folded up for storage and can be used inside or outside. However for travel the clever feature is the ability to pack all your goodies inside, drawstring the edges and clip them before zipping shut to carry as a bag.
Simply reverse the action when you arrive to unfold your belongings on a handy rug. I particularly like the fact there is no internal rug like fabric for sand and grass and picnic crumbs to get stuck in. The Brug can be easily shaken clean and any spills sponged off and run through the washing machine back at home. Everything about the Brug is carefully thought through from the sturdy shoulder straps to the peg tabs on the corners to secure it down at the beach. We found it very comfortable to carry over the coast path on our walk with water, swimwear, sun cream and the like safely inside.
When we are not using for our own family benefit it comes into its own for our weekly activity hour with the children on holiday here. It is big enough for a group of children to sit on for making and creating and enjoying a snack.
Bring your Brug inside
Much as I love the outdoor use it would also be perfect for travelling with a baby or toddler allowing you to put toys and essentials inside opening up into an instant play mat for visiting relatives and friends. When you start to think there are so many uses for this clever 2 in 1 bag rug and it would make a wonderful gift for a birthday, wedding, new baby, in fact almost any occasion. I personally would be thrilled to receive one.
Need to know
Blue with orange trim
Blue with yellow trim
Rug & Bag 2 in 1
drawstring, buckle and zip up bag
Peg loops for use as a rug
Intergral bungies for folded up storage
Rug = 150cm x 150cm
Bag = 45cm by 75cm
Win yourself a Brug with Wunderlife and Coombe Mill
If like us you can find a multitude of different uses for this clever 2 in 1 rug and bag why not enter to win one by following the guidelines below. Good luck to all taking part.
We were given our Brug for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Posted on June 19th, 2017 - Fiona
Being sensitive, anxious or self aware is a common feeling for everyone. I bet even the most confident person can think of a time or a situation that has left them feeling a little awkward or uncomfortable. For some children these times are more common and familiar than for others. A little subtle help for sensitive children to boost their confidence and help them feel more comfortable ad less overwhelmed in social situations can come in many forms. Parental support, good friends, preschool leaders, toys and so forth. I often see a child at here on holiday that is less confident than the others, hanging back on the feed run with their parents and watching in awe of the outgoing kids. With encouragement and time over the week on holiday, the sensitive and cautious children usually come to join in and be a part of the group, watching these transformations melts my heart.
Long Hat is a Hero
When Scrivo Media asked me if I’d like to review the new children’s book Long Hat is a Hero aimed at helping sensitive children I could instantly see the nature connection with the farm and relate to the story and the issues it tackles.
Long Hat is a gnome who feels sad. He is overwhelmed by his peers in his beautiful woodland home and struggles to understand how he is feeling. His owl friend comes to the rescue and turns Long Hat’s sensitivity to an advantage with a clever plan.
What I like about the book
The story itself is delightful. It is uplifting, positive and easy to relate to tackling childhood sensitivity though relatable woodland characters. It is a subtle approach that is very clever and I believe will appeal to children.
What I feel could be improved
I think the book would benefit from being 50% bigger in size with larger writing. Currently the writing is very small to read. The illustrations are good and the ratio of writing to illustrations feels right, it could just do with being scaled up. That said the story message is compelling and as the book isn’t too long it will still hold a child’s attention.
Need to know
Win a copy of Long Hat is a Hero for a sensitive children
If you know a child prone to sensitivity, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed in social situations, this book could be a valuable and discrete way to help them. To enter to win a copy of the book, follow the instructions below.
Long Hat is a Hero
I was sent my copy of Long Hat is a Hero for the purpose of this review. Our Coombe Mill copy can be found in the reading snug of Polzeath lodge, a lovely quiet spot to take in the story. All thoughts and opinions on the book are my own.
Posted on June 12th, 2017 - Fiona
Travelling with kids can be tiring and leave you feeling like you have packed everything bar the kitchen sink for a few days away. Orchard Toys specialise in educational games for children and have now come up with the perfect travel companion; a range of mini travel games. These games won’t fill your suitcase, they won’t break the bank to buy and they will keep the kids entertained in the car, on a plane, at your destination or even just on a rainy day at home. What’s more the games are based on childhood classics of yesteryear and require no technology, so ideal for a camping holiday or those wilderness destinations with no wifi. If these sound of interest to you read on for your chance to win 3 different mini travel games with me.
Learning made fun
Like all the games from Orchard Toys these mini travel games aim to make learning fun. Build counting skills, memory, visual recognition identification, problem solving and how to be a good team player. The games are aimed at age 3 – 6. We put two of the games to the test with preschool children at the lower age range staying here on holiday.
Llamas in Pyjamas
Since llamas are very similar to the alpaca we have here on the farm I thought this would be a fun one to try.
The game is a more complex version of pairs played with 2 to 4 players. I thought it might be too tricky for our 3 year olds; however with a little help and encouragement they managed a full game played by the rules at the start of our activity hour and even wanted a rematch at the end!
Little Bug Bingo
I thought this one was a little easier. Based on the traditional bingo game players try to match bugs and insects with their bingo board.
It is a fun way to learn of the mini beasts that inhabit our countryside. We used the game ahead of an activity session based on pond studies and later looked for the creatures from the bingo game around the Coombe Mill Lake. Again the game was perfect for holding the children’s attention.
Need to know
|Games in the series||12|
|Price per game||£4.99|
|Suitable for ||Age 3 – 8|
|Players required||2 – 4|
|Made from||100% recycled board|
Win your choice of 3 Mini Travel Games with Orchard Toys and Coombe Mill
For your chance to win 3 of these lovely educational games just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
3 Mini Travel Games from Orchard Toys
We were sent our 2 games for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Our two mini travel games are available to borrow here on holiday from our Games Room.
Posted on June 5th, 2017 - Fiona
Here at Coombe Mill we love to encourage education that is fun and creative. Our weekly activity hour is based around just this, making the most of the outdoors whilst learning and developing young minds. I have worked with Quarto Kids on many occasions as I know their books are designed to make learning a joy for children. Their nonfiction books always have a clever slant that makes kids want to learn. The latest Lift-The-Flap and colour books have been published in association with the Natural History Museum to inspire young minds about the ocean, jungle, forest and African animals. Each book has 5 scenes to colour and simple facts to read aloud. Lift the flaps on every page to reveal the full story and make learning fun. Read on for your chance to get your hands on a set.
What we thought about the Lift-The-Flap and Colour books
We used the ocean book as part of our water themed activity hour. I first read the story to the children who were all age 2 to 4. It was fast paced enough to capture their imagination
Afterwards they choose which page to colour in together.
The thick black outlines are perfect for little hands just learning dexterity and the art of colouring between the lines and the matt finish is ideal for crayons, felt pens or paint for a careful hand. When the colouring is complete, the black and white pages spring to life.
I’m already lining up a forest themed activity hour with the children here next, taking advantage of animals here on the farm. There is a lovely page about deer which tells you not to go too close, something we are always reminding the children here on the morning tractor rides.
Need to know
|About the Lift-the-flap and colour books|
- 5 scenes to read and colour in every book
- Simple facts to accompany every page
- 4 books in the series
|Suitable from||age 2+|
|Available from||Quarto Knows|
|Illustrated by||Alice Bowsher|
|Published in association with||the Natural History Museum|
Win your Lift-The-Flap and colour books from Quarto Kids and Coombe Mill
If you fancy a set of these delightful colour in books just follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
Lift-the-Flap and Colour Books from Quarto Kids
We were sent our Natural History Lift-the-flap and colour books for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Posted on May 29th, 2017 - Fiona
The importance of Water Safety
Here at Coombe Mill with a river and two lakes we know just how important water safety is. In the summer season the children love to play in the river and providing the current is gentle enough it is something we encourage. For our younger guests we try to keep a few arm bands and floats in our boot room to borrow alongside the wetsuits as a little extra security for parents. Even when the river isn’t suitable to swim in here we have a link up with our friends at Camelford Leisure Centre where Coombe Mill guests can swim in a full length heated indoor pool free of charge. The Camelford Pool has a life guard on duty but it is still the responsibility of the parent to ensure their child is safe in the water at all times. For non swimmers a swim aid such as Aquaplane is peace of mind for holiday fun.
Aquaplane: The New Swim Aid
Move over arm bands, there’s a new swim aid come to kick you into touch! Aquaplane is the brain child of swim instructor Chris Shore, who has coached many championship swimmers, and he says:
‘It’s all about feeling confident and safe. Aquaplane straps to a child’s back, leaving their arms free from resistance, enabling them to stretch out in the water, and achieve the correct body position naturally and easily’.
Aquaplane is perfect for building water confidence and a feeling of being able to float with limbs free to splash, however it also adapts to take a child through all the different stages to further their swimming techniques as Chris explains:.
‘Aquaplane will help a child to learn to swim on their back, too. The wide & low profile enables the learner to have more balance and the patented design gives a superior streamlined position compared to all other swimming aids.
Once your child is through the early stages of development, you can then remove the straps and Aquaplane can be used as a kick board to enhance stroke development.
As further progress is achieved, Aquaplane turns into a performance tool to build stamina and strength.’
What we thought of Aquaplane
We put Aquaplane to the test with a family staying with us who were going swimming at Camelford. The girls at age 4 had already mastered the beginnings of swimming and used the Aquaplane as a float. This is what their Mum had to say on their return:
When we got to the pool they both tried the aqua plane as a float to practice kicking, it worked well and the girls enjoyed it. They loved the rocket shape and it was comfy for them to hold. I was also amazed at how quickly it dried.
The following week the Aquaplane was borrowed again, this time using the straps to allow freedom for arms as well as legs whilst giving body support. I asked the Mum how she found the product and she told me:
“The straps adjust easily to ensure the float fits comfortably and securely in place giving our daughter confidence to splash.”
Need to know Facts for Aquaplane:
Pack contents ||
Float and 2 body straps|
Suitable for||children aged from 3 upwards|
|Endorsed by||Two luminaries in championship swimming – Chris Shore, Chris Cooke (Team GB Athens ’04 and Beijing, ’08) as well as swimming instructor and Commonwealth Games team member, Dan Coombs (Delhi’10)|
Win your Aquaplane Swim Aid with Hippychick and Coombe Mill
If you know someone learning to swim this summer that would benefit from an aquaplane, why not enter to win. Simply follow the instructions below.
We were sent our aqua plane from Hippychick for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and those of our visitors who tested it for me. Our Aquaplane is available for Coombe Mill guests to borrow from the boots and wetsuit room.
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